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With 'Extraordinary' and 'Remarkable' Request, Bar Association Calls on GOP to Delay Vote, Order FBI Probe into Kavanaugh

As White House and Republicans hit throttle to confirm nominee despite sexual assault allegations, nation's largest association of lawyers says lifetime appointment "simply too important to rush to a vote"

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.  (Photo: Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images)

Following the "powerful" testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and his "unhinged" performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the American Bar Association—which had previously bestowed the rating of "well-qualified" on the Supreme Court nominee—pulled its support by calling for a delay in his confirmation and a thorough investigation by the FBI into the sexual assault allegations that three women have now publicaly made against him.

"This is indeed remarkable!"
—Karine Jean-Pierre, MoveOn.org

"The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI," wrote Robert Carlson, president of the ABA, the nation's largest organization of lawyers, in a letter addressed to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chair, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), its ranking member.

While progressive forces opposed to Kavanaugh are mobilizing for mass demonstrations on Friday to demand senators reject Kavanaugh and Republicans circle the wagons to rush him through to a vote, the letter by the ABA comes as a striking blow by a seemingly less partisan organization that sees itself as defending the reputation of the legal committee, advocating for the "rule of law," and represents the collective voice of over 400,000 of the nation's licensed lawyers.

While Kavanaugh during Thursday's hearing repeatedly refused opportunities to endorse the FBI investigation that the White House and Senate Republicans have also rejected out of hand, Carlson's letter argued that such a probe was clearly needed and that a vote by the committee—currently scheduled for 9:30 AM on Friday—was wholly inappropriate.

"Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote," the letter states. "Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate's reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court."

In his testimony on Thurdsay, Brett Kavanaugh himself cited the approval he's received from the ABA as did other Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who called their system the "gold standard" for rating judicial nominees.

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